A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Akron, OH with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
New Philadelphia, OH
Garrison Keillor brings his solo show to Kent State University. Poetry, Limericks, Sing-Along and the News from Lake Wobegon.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, TX with our favorite regulars, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman. Additional guests to be announced.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to the McCain Auditorium in Manhattan, Kansas with our favorite regulars, Rich Dworsky, Sue Scott, Tim Russell and Fred Newman. Additional guests to be announced.
A Prairie Home Companion’s 50th Anniversary Tour comes to Nashville with Heather Masse, Christine DiGiallonardo, Rich Dworsky, Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan, Sue Scott, Fred Newman and Tim Russell.
The birth of the spotless giraffe at a zoo in Tennessee, the only known one on earth, is important news to those of us who grew up as oddballs, seeing the spotted mama giraffe nuzzling her child, remembering the kindness of aunts and teachers who noticed our helpless naivete and guided us through the shallows.
And then there was the story of the cable car in Pakistan that lost a couple cables and dangled helplessly hundreds of feet in the air with terrified children inside. A nightmare in broad daylight. A rescuer harnessed to the remaining cable had to bring the children one by one to safety.
It dawns on you, watching this, that what makes a society a civilized society is the existence of rescuers who will put themselves at risk in service to others. It isn’t having a street system or social media or manufacturing capacity that define civil society, it’s public service.
The giraffe is a bony creature whose meat is too lean and sinewy for our taste and nobody has thought to saddle them up and race them and their hide doesn’t suit us particularly and so they were never bred by man as horses and cattle were, so this spotless child belongs to a species in steep decline, just as I do, being a writer.
I was a mediocre student so the academic life was never an option for me: there were no grants or fellowships available; I needed to earn my way by writing. I admired journalists like A.J. Liebling and Murray Kempton and was lucky to be able to support my family by putting words on paper. And in the course of it, I encountered numerous rescuers, such as the editors Roger Angell and Bill Whitworth. You labor month after month in your gloomy study and feel you are dangling by a wire and one day you walk to the end of the driveway and there’s a letter in the mailbox with two or three paragraphs of lavish encouragement and without that, I’d have become a parking lot attendant.
Which is not to say that attending a parking lot is an unworthy occupation. It’s a monastic calling and great good has been accomplished by monks. Look at Luther, look at Buddha. He didn’t park cars but he wandered as a beggar, meditating, taking life simply, and attained enlightenment, and enlightenment is, I must admit, not my strong suit. I sat the other morning at breakfast listening to a friend talk about the Medicis and Machiavelli and Michelangelo, and it occurred to me, as it has so often lately, that I am an uneducated 81-year-old man and it is too late for me to catch up with the class.
I supported my family by entering into the amusement business and I’m still in it. Last Sunday, I did a show under a big tent in Bayfield, Wisconsin, that a thousand people enjoyed considerably for two hours. They liked my advocacy of the advantages of old age. They laughed at the line about not going to Taylor Swift concerts because the vulnerabilities she sings about I forgot long ago — if she sang about the pleasure of a long happy marriage I’d be interested but I doubt I’ll live long enough to know if she discovers that. They liked when I said I found people’s stories more interesting than their political opinions. And that tolerance comes from loving individuals as individuals and therefore accepting their cranky beliefs and bizarre theories. And also the song from my childhood: “Passengers will please refrain from flushing toilets while the train in standing in the station, I love you. When the train is in the station, you must practice constipation; if the train can’t go then why should you?” There was a lot of singing, including “America” and some falsetto R&B and the sounds of a man swallowed by a whale and living in its stomach and then being expelled out the rear.
It didn’t solve the problem of microplastics or the Republican landslide victory of 2020 that was stolen by Hunter Biden’s friends in Venezuela who manipulated the voting machines, but a thousand people enjoyed each other’s company, and I intend to keep going so as to justify the money Medicare put out to pay for the replacement of my mitral valve with one from a young pig, and also justify the sacrifice of the pig. I am deeply moved by America’s faith in the goodness of longevity, even for giraffes like me. I don’t take that for granted. Thank you very much.